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Monday, November 29, 2010

Millennium Challenge Corporation

Curt Tarnoff
Specialist in Foreign Affairs

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) provides economic assistance through a competitive selection process to developing nations that are pursuing political and economic reforms in three areas: ruling justly, investing in people, and fostering economic freedom.

Established in 2004, the MCC differs in several respects from past and current U.S. aid practices:
  • the competitive process that rewards countries for past and current actions measured by 17 objective performance indicators;
  • the pledge to segregate the funds from U.S. strategic foreign policy objectives that often strongly influence where U.S. aid is spent;
  • the requirement to solicit program proposals developed solely by qualifying countries with broad-based civil society involvement; and 
  • the responsibility of recipient countries to implement their own MCC-funded programs.
As announced by President Bush in March 2002, the initial plan had been to fund the MCC annually at $5 billion by FY2006, but this figure has never been reached.

On February 1, 2010, the Obama Administration issued its FY2011 budget request, providing $1.280 billion for the MCC, a 16% increase over the FY2010-appropriated level. FY2011 funding for the MCC is currently provided under the terms of the Continuing Appropriations Act 2011 (P.L. 111-242, H.R. 3081), approved September 30, 2010, which provides foreign aid spending at the level in the FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-117).

Congress authorized the MCC in P.L. 108-199 (January 23, 2004). Since that time, the MCC’s Board of Directors has approved 22 compacts: with Madagascar (2005), Honduras (2005), Cape Verde (2005), Nicaragua (2005), Georgia (2005), Benin (2006), Vanuatu (2006), Armenia (2006), Ghana (2006), Mali (2006), El Salvador (2006), Mozambique (2007), Lesotho (2007), Morocco (2007), Mongolia (2007), Tanzania (2007), Burkina Faso (2008), Namibia (2008), Senegal (2009), Moldova (2009), Philippines (2010), and Jordan (2010). In June 2009, the Madagascar compact was terminated early, as were uncontracted components of the Nicaragua compact. A hold on the roads portion of the Armenia compact has been continued. In September 2009, uncontracted portions of the Honduras compact were terminated as a result of an undemocratic change in government.

MCC implementation concerns include the relationship of MCC and USAID, the level of funding to support MCC programs, the impact of budget reductions on MCC programs, the rate of program implementation, and the results of MCC compact and threshold programs.



Date of Report: November 16, 2010
Number of Pages: 37
Order Number: RL32427
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Peace Corps: Current Issues


Curt Tarnoff
Specialist in Foreign Affairs

Founded in 1961, the Peace Corps has sought to meet its legislative mandate of promoting world peace and friendship by sending American volunteers to serve at the grassroots level in villages and towns in all corners of the globe. About 8,655 volunteers currently serve in 77 nations.

In 2010, the 111
th Congress is considering the President’s annual funding request for the Peace Corps, efforts to reauthorize the Peace Corps, and related issues. On February 1, the Obama Administration issued its FY2011 budget request, proposing $446.2 million for the Peace Corps, a 12% increase over the FY2010-appropriated level of $400 million (H.R. 3288, P.L. 111-117). On June 30, 2010, the House State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee marked up a draft FY2011 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, providing $446.2 million for the Peace Corps, matching the Administration request and $46.2 million above the previous year’s level. On July 29, 2010, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved S. 3676 (S.Rept. 111-237), the FY2011 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations, providing $420.15 million for the Peace Corps, $20 million more than the previous year’s appropriation and $26 million less than the Administration request. On September 30, 2010, the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (P.L. 111-242, H.R. 3081) was signed, providing FY2011 funding for the Peace Corps at the level in the FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-117). It expires on December 3, 2010.

The last Peace Corps authorization (P.L. 106-30), approved in 1999, covered the years FY2000 to FY2003. On June 10, 2009, the House approved H.R. 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for 2010 and 2011 (H.Rept. 111-136). Title VI of the act contains several Peace Corps provisions, including authorization of an appropriation level in FY2011of “such sums as may be necessary.” The Senate has not addressed this legislation. On April 27, 2010, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported S. 2971, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY2010- 2011. It incorporates most of the language of the Peace Corps Improvement and Expansion Act of 2009, introduced as S. 1382 on June 25, 2009, and reported out of the committee on April 13, 2010 (S.Rept. 111-219). It would authorize funding for the Peace Corps at “such sums as may be necessary.”

A comprehensive assessment of Peace Corps operations was published in June 2010. It makes 64 recommendations supporting a six-point strategy to be implemented in the coming years.

Current issues include the extent to which there is available funding for Peace Corps expansion, whether the Peace Corps has the institutional capacity to expand, and whether volunteers are able to function in a safe and secure environment.



Date of Report: November 16, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: RS21168
Price: $29.95

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Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.